How can a Select Committee publish such tosh?


November 6, 2016
Sarah Benton


Hand-made placard 1, August 2014, photo from CST. For placard 2, see below.

“Antisemitism in the United Kingdom”

House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, HC 136
A Critique by David Plank

Posted by Jews Sans Frontières
November 02, 2016. 

This is a 15,000 word report of which we have published a (lightly edited) third. To read the whole, click on headline above.

Contents

1. Remit
2. Method
3. Language
4. Social media
5. Palestine and Israel
6. Party politics
7. Shami Chakrabarti Report
8. The Labour Party
9. Conclusions & recommendations

Conclusion & recommendations:

A. I came to this report as a former specialist adviser to the then House of Commons Social Services Committee (Chair, Renee Short MP). It saddens me to find a report which so signally fails to live up to the standards set by select committees over the years. Most regrettably, my conclusion is that this Report is a partisan party political polemic which should not have been agreed and made public by a House of Commons select committee. It fails to meet the basic standards required of select committees as to their inquiries and reports. This is particularly distressing on so important and contentious a matter as antisemitism in our country.

B. The reasons for my conclusion are given in detail in the pages that follow. Their length is necessary to demonstrate the extent of the failings in the Committee’s Inquiry and the prejudicial effects this has on its Report’s conclusions and recommendations.

C. The Report purports to be the result of an inquiry into “Antisemitism in the United Kingdom”. It is no such thing. The Inquiry has no terms of reference: as a result, it is ill-defined from the outset. Its evidence base is partial and excludes a swathe of evidence sources that would have been essential to such an inquiry. It is unbalanced in the coverage it gives to political discourse as against other aspects of antisemitism in the United Kingdom – and grossly imbalanced within the topic of political discourse in the entirely disproportionate attention it gives to the Labour Party and personally to its Leader.

D. The Committee unjustifiably dismisses the Shami Chakrabarti Report primarily on the basis of innuendo without taking proper account of the reputation for integrity of its Chair and Vice Chairs – and by assessing the Report against a judicial inquiry expectation which it could not and was not expected to meet. The report’s treatment of the Leader of the Labour Party is biased and unfair. The Report also includes severe criticism of named or otherwise identifiable individuals without, it seems, hearing their side of the story thus denying them their fundamental right of reply.

E. The Report gives the clear impression of bias on all these counts – including, most regrettably, the strong impression of the Committee having been captured by the party politics within and without the Labour Party following the Parliamentary Labour Party’s majority vote of no confidence in the Party Leader and the leadership election campaign that ensued. By falling so far short of the standards required, the Committee’s Report does disservice to the honourable cause of combating antisemitism in the United Kingdom: and fuels the fires of misunderstanding and ill feeling which dog its discussion rather than fostering the understanding and constructive debate the public has every right to expect of its elected representatives.

F. If I was inclined to borrow an expression from the Committee’s Interim Chair when interviewed on radio and television on the morning of Sunday 16 October 2016, I would say that the Committee’s Report is not worth the paper it is written on. Such worth as is within it is set at nothing by that which is either not worthwhile or worse.

G. Recommendations:

i. The House of Commons Home affairs Committee should withdraw this Report and undertake a properly impartial, objective and sufficiently evidenced inquiry into antisemitism in the United Kingdom. Individuals and organizations should not be named or otherwise made identifiable in the report of this and other inquiries undertaken by the Committee without due process and proper verification of evidence.

ii. The House of Commons Liaison Committee should examine the adequacy of the arrangements select committees of the House of Commons have in place to assure their inquiries and reports to ensure they achieve basic standards of impartiality, objectivity and adequacy of evidence – including strict adherence to the rule of no party politics.

iii. The Labour Party should consider the comments made above in relation to: a definition of antisemitism and the areas of outright disagreement as to what falls within it in the assessment of allegations; and accountability.

Reasons for my conclusions

1. Remit:

1.1. The inquiry has no stated terms of reference, i.e. statement of what it set out to do – at least there is none that I can find in the report. As a result, the inquiry has no discernible shape – it is amorphous and apparently haphazard in the topics it chooses to address, moving from the increase in antisemitic incidents to, its de facto main focus, the alleged state of affairs in the Labour Party. The absence of explicit terms of reference is evident in the “Our inquiry” section of the Report on page 7. This states:

“Our inquiry was prompted by concerns expressed to us about an increase in prejudice and violence against Jewish communities in the UK, along with an increase in far-right extremist activity. Many of the developments outlined above, and discussed in detail later in this report, occurred after we announced this inquiry on 12 April 2016.” [My emphasis]

1.2. In plainer language, an Inquiry which arose from general concerns and lacked direction from the outset appears to have become driven by happenchance events including the contemporaneous Parliamentary Labour Party’s majority vote of no confidence in its Leader and the subsequent Labour Party leadership election. This is addressed in section 6 below.

1.3. In consequence, the Report which is entitled “Antisemitism in the UK”, is no such thing. If indeed the Committee’s intention was to address antisemitism in the United Kingdom, the incompetence of its approach to and conduct of so important an enquiry is doubly regrettable.

2. Method:

2.1. The fundamental weakness arising from the Inquiry’s lack of clarity about what it set out to do is aggravated by the method used in the inquiry, which is also not spelled out and appears partial and incomplete. For example, why was evidence obtained from some voices in the communities of British Jews and not others? The Board of Deputies of British Jews is one voice that was heard. A different voice – the voice of Independent Jewish Voices – was not heard. Independent Jewish Voices is a significant body which states:

“We believe that the broad spectrum of opinion among the Jewish population of this country is not reflected by those institutions which claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole. We further believe that individuals and groups within all communities should feel free to express their views on any issue of public concern without incurring accusations of disloyalty.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is a body which claims authority to represent the Jewish community in this country as a whole – describing itself as:

“… the voice of British Jewry …” [Their website – my emphasis]

2.2. Why then did the Committee obtain evidence from one voice and give it much weight in its report and not obtain evidence from this other different voice – and indeed others such as the non-Orthodox communities which do not necessarily see their varied views represented by the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and its Chief Rabbi from whom evidence was obtained? Why did the then Chair of the Committee reject a request from Shami Chakrabarti to appear before the Committee and give evidence? Why is great weight given by the Committee to the evidence of bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews when no weight appears to be given to that of other bodies with different views such as Free Speech on Israel?

2.3. Some may not regard it as surprising that the Board of Deputies of British Jews has welcomed the Committee’s report given the weight the Committee appears to have attached to the Board’s views – and to those of other bodies from which evidence was obtained that some British Jews may see as like-minded bodies, i.e. the Jewish Leadership Council and the United Hebrew Congregations. Had the Committee obtained evidence from other known voices in the communities of British Jews – and given weight to the evidence it did have of different views – its account of Zionism, for instance, might well have been significantly different. The Committee gives the impression of not being sensitive to this crucial point. Had the Committee been as comprehensive in the evidence it took as the Chakrabarti Inquiry, its conclusions and recommendations might have carried greater weight than they do. [Compare the evidence listed on pages 63 & 64 of the Committee’s Report and the many more and more representative spread of organizations and individuals which contributed to the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry following its call for evidence, pages 30 & 31 of the SC Report]

2.4. This serious failure of methodology is most regrettable and helps to explain the severe lack of balance in the Committee’s report as whole. This is all the more regrettable in the hugely contentious and contended matter of antisemitism and the attendant hotly contested debates around such sensitive matters as identity and Zionism which influence people’s personal perception and experience of antisemitism.

2.5. A related weakness in the Committee’s inquiry was its failure to appoint expert advisor(s) on this most contentious and contended of matters. Had such advice been available to the Committee, its discussion of Zionism, for example, would have been significantly better informed than it appears to be. This methodological weakness is in distinct contrast to the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry which had specialist expertise represented in its panel of inquiry through one of its Vice Chairs, Professor David Feldman. It also had advice from its appointed Counsel and Solicitor whose “… expertise as a senior public and human rights lawyer has been invaluable.” [Page 3 of SC Report] The approach the Committee took to its obtaining of evidence did not make up for this failing. Indeed its lack of balance and depth could be seen to have exacerbated it.

2.6. The Committee’s apparent lack of discrimination in its assessment of some of the evidence before it, is illustrated in the last of the “Key Facts” exhibited at the top of its Report:

“A self-selecting survey of British Jewish people found that 87% believed that the Labour Party is too tolerant of antisemitism among its MPs, members and supporters. Almost half thought the same of the Green Party, along with 43% for UKIP, 40% for the SNP, 37% for the Liberal Democrats and 13% for the Conservative Party.” [Page 4; repeated in paragraph 111]

The Report does not explain what “self-selecting” means, i.e. how the 1,864 British Jewish adults polled by the Campaign Against Antisemitism were selected. This is also not stated on the CAA’s website. Generally, self-selecting surveys are by definition unreliable as no standard statistical test can be applied to them to assess the data’s margin of error. Analysis of such information should also take account of the prejudicial effect on public opinion of the barrage of unfavourable media coverage of alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party; and of the fact that much of the media is hostile generally to the Labour Party – particularly since Mr Corbyn’s election as its Leader – and wishes to characterize it unfavourably. Such information should not be listed as a key fact at the front of a select committee report; it should also not be included in the subsequent text of a select committee report without qualification and further information as to its reliability and validity.

2.7. This is an early example of the Committee’s inclusion of material unfavourable to the Labour Party in its Report without sufficient regard to its reliability or validity. Some might see this as a determination on the Committee’s part so to do. This perception may or may not be correct – but the Committee should have been more aware that the perception could arise and of the need to take action to avoid it.

2.8. Another concern about the Committee’s method in this Inquiry relates to criticism of identifiable or named individuals. A number are criticized in the Report – directly, indirectly or both – and some severely criticized. The Committee does not say whether or not these individuals were presented with either the draft text or a detailed account of what the Committee intended to say in its Report with the opportunity to respond before the Committee decided the final form of the passages concerned in light of the responses made. This would have been necessary to ensure accuracy and fairness. The Committee should have made clear in its Report that this was or was not the case so that the weight to be attached to its conclusions could be properly assessed. In the absence of this assurance it is difficult to assess the weight that should be given to the criticisms made. It is known that the request to give evidence to the Committee made by one of the individuals named in the Report as having been suspended by the Labour Party was refused by the Committee’s then Chair. As a result, it is not possible, to assess the accuracy or otherwise of the Report’s description of events. [Paragraphs 110 & 112]

2.9. The individual named in paragraphs 110 and 112 is the subject of specific criticism in the Committee’s Report by Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications of the Community Support Trust. [Paragraph 112] His criticisms, reproduced verbatim in the Report, assume as a matter of fact that the person concerned had committed antisemitic acts. It is understood that the person concerned was cleared of the first allegation by the Labour Party and that the second allegation is not concluded. For this reason the Committee’s reproduction of Mr Rich’s statements without qualification and without giving the person concerned the right to be heard, is entirely unacceptable, particularly in a Report claiming to be concerned with the upholding of human rights.

The Daily Express and CST combine to make the link in article on antisemitism spreading across the UK, Aug 6, 2014.

3. Language:

3.1. Pejorative language is used by the Committee throughout its Report together with unwanted and unwarranted innuendo as to motive. For example, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is described as a “hard –left” organization together with Unite Against Fascism and Stop the War Coalition. This comment follows an extended passage on allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party including Ken Livingstone’s highly offensive comments. The paragraph reads as follows:

“A number of hard-left organisations, such as Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, have clearly taken a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Government stance. These organisations hold or participate in marches, some of which have been attended by leading politicians such as Mr Corbyn. Whilst the majority of individuals attending these marches are not antisemitic, some of the placards and banners displayed are very offensive to British Jewish people. Jonathan Arkush told us that, during one of the Gaza campaigns, there were “huge marches” in London at which people held placards that read “Hitler was right.” [One man]

3.2. The Wikipedia entry for “hard left” reads as follows:

“Hard left is a term used, often pejoratively, to refer to political movements and ideas outside the mainstream centre-left, including those also referred to as being far or extreme left.

Momentum, a group founded to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, has been described as hard left.”
These are the connotations of the words “hard left”.

3.3. The combined effect of this paragraph and those immediately preceding it is to paint the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as an extreme hard left organization associated with antisemitism. It is not known if this is the intention but it is the effect. Not only is this picture untrue it is also a travesty of a complicated situation which the Report’s insensitive and pejorative remarks serve to exacerbate rather than contribute constructively. This is not acceptable – and even more so in the Report of a select committee of the House of Commons which is meant to set standards of public debate.

3.4. The Wikipedia entry for the Palestine Solidarity campaign …

3.5. Study of the PSC’s campaigns and other activities does not support its description as “a hard left” organization, whatever that is. Nor does it support innuendo that the PSC as an organization is somehow tainted with antisemitism. Clearly the PSC is strongly opposed to the collective effect of the State of Israel on Palestinians with the justifications it makes public on a regular basis. Witness its campaign concerning the 547,000 Israeli settlers in villages, towns and cities “built illegally on Palestinian land” and protected by Israeli forces, which are described by the UK government as illegal and a barrier to peace – being in contravention of United Nations resolutions. The PSC is highly critical of Israel’s actions but this does not constitute being hard left or antisemitic.

3.6. The denigratory tone of these passages is not untypical in this Report; witness the unargued, except as to circumstance, and unfounded assault on the independence and objectivity of Shami Chakrabarti and her two Vice Chairs, Professor David Feldman and Baroness Royall. This tone would be objectionable in any report of a House of Commons Select Committee. That this is the case in an inquiry purporting to inquire into a matter so highly sensitive as antisemitism in the UK is reprehensible.

4. Social media:

4.1. A significant proportion of the “evidence” in the report relates to communication through the social media, particularly that pertaining to political discourse. It is common ground that a proportion of this content is abusive and some of it vilely so. Yet the Committee makes no serious attempt to analyse the issue so that informed policy responses might be considered. In particular, they do not analyse abusive communication to MPs alongside other widely reported abuses including other forms of trolling. One particularly important feature of all such forms is that they are often anonymous, a point mentioned in passing only in the Report. But it is crucial. The concurrent blessing and curse of anonymity in the social media renders it valuable and sometimes invaluable – but also abominable and sometimes abominably so. Anonymity empowers the unaccountable to abuse vilely the readily available. Those in public office in the past were used to receiving the occasional anonymous letter, sometimes written in green ink. But the facility of Twitter in particular has vastly increased this form of abuse.

4.2. The Committee’s addressing of this issue in relation to antisemitism in the United Kingdom and in “political discourse” is at best superficial. …the Committee does not address the issue of anonymity at all – the issue which is at the root of the abuse by allowing / encouraging behind the hand and curtain gossip, innuendo, bullying and vile abuse. Instead it simply notes that Twitter has become “… a social media platform now regarded as a requirement for any public figure” without asking why the entitlement to anonymity of one party to the interaction should be part and parcel of this requirement – or whether the potential benefit of this entitlement is in any way sufficient to outweigh its incurred risk.  Accountability for what one says is fundamental to the politeness and good neighbourliness which marks a civilized society. Unaccountable tittle tattle and gossip are the enemies of good neighbourliness. This does have to be balanced of course with the need for anonymity in certain situations like whistle blowing on abuse of power. How this is to be achieved is a debate at least as important as seeking to increase appropriate surveillance by social media providers. It is regrettable that the Committee does not even touch on this vital issue.

4.3. The Committee also fails in this regard in its comments on abuse allegedly made in the name of Mr Corbyn. … It is not evident from the Report that the Committee made any determined attempt to verify these potentially damaging claims. Theoretically, anyone may anonymously claim to be acting in the name of the Leader of the Labour Party whether or not they are so doing. It is important, therefore, to seek to verify claims made to this effect. It is unfortunate that the Committee has seen fit merely to repeat claims made to it without some representative sample checks as to accuracy and demonstration of these in its evidence. This significantly weakens the Committee’s Report in this regard.

4.4. The Committee makes some potentially useful recommendations in relation to Twitter which it is hoped will be acted upon.However, its coverage of online abuse in the context of political discourse is partial and inadequate. It fails to address the fundamental point of anonymity and the place for it, if any, in political discourse. It also fails to address specifically the responsibilities of political parties in relation to anonymized antisemitic abuse of MPs and others allegedly made in the name of political leaders or others. …But it is not made clear by the Committee what action can reasonably be expected of political leaders and parties in relation to anonymous antisemitic abuse which is not already in hand.

5. Palestine and Israel:

5.1. It is most surprising that the crucial subject of Palestine and Israel is not addressed in some depth in relation to the Report’s stated topic. There can be little doubt that public opinion in general shifted greatly during and after Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza in July 2014. The invasion by Israeli forces following Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the rocket and mortar attacks on Israel by Palestinian armed groups, was reported by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry to have resulted in:

“In Gaza, in particular, the scale of the devastation was unprecedented. The death toll alone speaks volumes: 2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, of whom 299 women and 551 children; and 11,231 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured (A/HRC/28/80/Add.1, para. 24), of whom 10 per cent suffered permanent disability as a result. While the casualty figures gathered by the United Nations, Israel, the State of Palestine and non-governmental organizations differ, regardless of the exact proportion of civilians to combatants, the high incidence of loss of human life and injury in Gaza is heartbreaking.” [Human Rights situation in Palestine & other occupied Arab territories, paragraph 20, 24 June 2015]

5.2. The invasion was reported extensively in the United Kingdom on a day by day basis. It was seen by many members of the public to be at the least disproportionate and revealed to many for the first time the conditions in which many Palestinian people were living – as well as highlighting the anxiety and stress experienced by many Israeli civilians living within rocket and mortar range. Public opinion shifted as a result with attendant unease in sections of the communities of British Jews and on the political left amongst others.

5.3. The narrative that had been dominant in British public life until then stopped being dominant in significant parts of UK public opinion but not in others. The fault lines which opened up as a result do not in any way justify antisemitism but they almost certainly relate to part of the increase in perceived and actual antisemitism. That this complex and confusing phenomenon is not even acknowledged let alone addressed in the Committee’s Report will be seen as astonishing by many people. If the Inquiry had been a serious attempt to address “Antisemitism in the United Kingdom”, this elephant in the room simply had to be brought out and addressed. This failing on the Committee’s part seriously undermines its Inquiry and Report….

6. Party politics:

See point 6.18 below.

6.1. The Committee’s Inquiry became involved in party politics. This is evident in its prejudicial and innuendo laden comment on the Labour Party, and in the entirely disproportionate attention given to that Party as against other parties. Yet The Committee notes that:

“It should be emphasised that the majority of antisemitic abuse and crime has historically been, and continues to be, committed by individuals associated with (or motivated by) far-right wing parties and political activity … CST figures suggest that around three-quarters of all politically-motivated antisemitic incidents come from far-right sources.

Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party. We are unaware whether efforts to identify antisemitic social media content within the Labour Party were applied equally to members and activists from other political parties, and we are not aware of any polls exploring antisemitic attitudes among political party members, either within or outside the Labour Party. The current impression of a heightened prevalence of antisemitism within in the Labour Party is clearly a serious problem, but we would wish to emphasise that this is also a challenge for other parties.”

6.2. Yet:

Ø of the 3 paragraphs in the Introduction to the Report relating to “Antisemitism in political parties”, all 3 relate to the Labour Party;
Ø of the 11 pages in the report covering “Political discourse and leadership”, 8 concern the Labour Party and 3 only concern all other parties and political organizations; and
Ø of the 8 paragraphs in the Committee’s “Conclusions and recommendations” on “Political discourse and leadership”, 7 relate to the Labour Party and one only to other political parties and organizations.

6.3. This is not and cannot be justified by the facts. It is not acceptable for the Committee to seek to justify this highly biased and unbalanced account by saying – well, the Labour Party is what the press is reporting, its readers are reading and the BBC and others are then reporting because they give so much coverage to the printed press. But this is precisely what the Committee’s Report does say in so many words in the preceding extract. The right wing dominated printed press is not an impartial investigator of good repute and cannot be relied upon as one by the Committee. But this is precisely what the Committee has done by devoting wholly disproportionate attention to the Labour Party – and by not carrying out any investigation which would allow it to cover other parties and organizations in similar detail.

6.4. There are two Labour MP signatories to the Committee’s Report together with five Conservative MP signatories including its Interim Chair. There were no other signatories on 13 October 2016.

6.5. One of the Labour MP signatories, Chuka Umunna, was prominent in the no confidence vote against Mr Corbyn on 27 June 2016 and in the subsequent campaign having nominated Owen Smith to stand as a candidate for the leadership. Mr Umunna has been openly hostile to Mr Corbyn as was shown vividly in his questioning of the Labour Party Leader at the Select Committee hearing on 4 July 2016. On that occasion Mr Umunna’s questions / statements were primarily party political rather than addressing antisemitism, which the then Chair, Keith Vaz MP, allowed to continue for a time without significant demur [reported by the Daily Mirror as “Jeremy Corbyn attacked by Chuka Umunna over anti-semitism row”]. Witness also Mr Umunna’s public criticism of Mr Corbyn over the conduct of the European Union Referendum campaign (The Sun 4 July 2016) and his reaction to Mr Corbyn’s re-election when he is reported as saying to BBC News on 24 September 2016, following the Labour Party Leader’s call for Party unity, “unity will not come about through demand, through threat, through online thuggery.” This was just over three weeks before he voted in the Committee to agree this Report.

6.6. The other Labour Party signatory to the Committee’s Report, David Winnick MP, could not be regarded as hostile to the Labour Party Leader. However, following the local election results in May 2016 he had publicly criticized Mr Corbyn’s leadership. He was reported as calling on Mr Corbyn to take responsibility and consider his position in order to give the party a chance of regaining power in 2020. “The party faces a crisis and the onus is on Jeremy himself. He should decide whether his leadership is helping or hindering the party … I think all the evidence shows that it is not helping.”[Mirror online, 6 May 2016] However, in distinct and honourable contrast to the other MPs who questioned Mr Corbyn at the Committee’s hearing on 4 July 2016, Mr Winnick was civil not hostile.

6.7. The Committee’s Chair for much of this Inquiry was Keith Vaz MP. Mr Vaz nominated Owen Smith for the Labour Party leadership following the majority vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn. He was not one of the Labour MPs reported to have voted against the motion of no confidence.

6.8. The Committee’s hearing of Mr Corbyn’s evidence on 4 July 2016 provides vivid evidence of the Committee’s partisanship and open hostility towards the Labour Party Leader. The Mirror online commented “The Home Affairs Select Committee was political theatre, with MPs from Labour and the Tories lining up to attack the leader …” This conduct is in conflict with that expected of a House of Commons Select Committee. Its descent into partisan party politics is conduct not befitting a House of Commons Select Committee purporting to be an impartial and objective body of inquiry, even more so on a matter of such sensitivity and social importance as antisemitism in the United Kingdom.

6.9. It is abundantly clear that the Labour Party and its Leader could not and did not receive a fair hearing from this Committee in the highly charged atmosphere of the House of Commons, and of the Parliamentary Labour Party in particular, during these months. The Committee should have recognized the risk it was running in conducting this Inquiry at this time and taken action to mitigate that risk. Given the situation it would have been appropriate, indeed proper, for the Committee to suspend its consideration of matters to do with the Labour Party as no reasonable person could have seen it as an adequately impartial and objective setting for the proper conduct of the inquiry, if indeed it ever was on which there must be serious doubt. Instead it chose to continue headlong. In my experience select committees of the House of Commons have gone out of their way to avoid any possible taint of party politics in their inquiries. This Report is a most regrettable exception to that rule which, if repeated, would risk bringing the select committee system into disrepute.

6.18. The partisan nature of the Committee’s Report was further underlined in the remarks of the Committee’s Conservative Interim Chair on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme on the day of its publication – Sunday 16 October 2016. In this the Interim Chair referred to the Shami Chakrabarti Report as “not worth the paper it’s written on” (my direct observation); the Interim Chair used the same words on the same day on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. [Kevin Schofield & Josh May, Politics Home 16.10.16] These are not the words of informed reason but of knockabout party politics. This is deeply regrettable – particularly on so serious a matter.

To read the rest of the report, go to

Critique of the Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism

David Plank is a member of the Labour Party living in Cambridge
Former Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Social Services Committee
Former local authority director of social services and chief executive

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